AIT Statement Regarding the Second Case of BSE
PR0530E | Date: 2005-06-27
The American Institute in Taiwan wants to assure the Taiwan public of the safety of U.S. beef and to provide factual information concerning the recent confirmation of BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) in the United States.
Q: Wasn't a new case of BSE just discovered in the United States?
A: This second case of BSE (otherwise known as "Mad Cow Disease") is not a new case, or a new animal, but a re-test of an old sample taken during an extensive cattle herd surveillance program before Dec. 2004.
Q: Why did the United States test this cow for BSE in the first place?
A: This cow was tested as part of a program designed to help U.S. authorities learn more about the health of U.S. cattle and the presence of BSE in the country.
Q: What does this test result mean?
A: The test result means that the measures in place to protect consumers and contain the spread of BSE succeeded in identifying, isolating and disposing of a potentially diseased animal. This additional testing, regardless of the results, has no public or animal health implications.
Q: If the United States has discovered two cases of BSE, what does that mean about the U.S. beef now in my local market?
A: There are major differences in the cow whose test just came back and the cattle used in U.S. beef exports. This cow was born before the U.S. government put into place stringent new measures, including the prohibition of feeding rendered cattle products back to other cattle.
In addition to being born before the feed ban, the animal in question did not -- and never would have -- entered the food supply or feed supply chain.
Q: What do international experts have to say about beef, BSE and food safety?
A: The World Animal Health Organization stated May 27, 2005, that boneless beef from cattle under 30 months can be freely traded without risk to consumers regardless of the exporting country's BSE status -- provided that the animals are inspected before and after slaughter, specified risk materials are removed, and approved slaughter methods are used. The United States follows all of these guidelines for beef sold to Taiwan.
Q: Why did Taiwan agree to allow the resumption of beef exports recently?
A: Taiwan's decision to re-open its market to U.S. beef on April 16 was based on a thorough, objective, and scientific review of the safety of U.S. beef over 15 months, involving 18 outside experts. There are no factors in this recent case (re-testing) that compromise the safety of U.S. beef or bring into question the integrity of the risk assessment conducted by the Risk Advisory Committee and reviewed by Taiwan's Department of Health.